CD Review

Earth Loop Recall – “Compulsion”

By JHR

CompulsionEarth Loop Recall (ELR from now on to save wearing my fingers down to bloody stumps. Yes, I know some of you would probably look forward to that eventuality, but you'll have to do without.) were one of the bands of 2004 as far as I was concerned. That they played Whitby Goth Weekend and went down like a sack of shite with the collected cloth-eared trads who'd pitched up to see Wayne Hussey and a mob of faceless sessioneers become their own Mission tribute act, only made them go up in my estimation. Earlier this year they split up because they're an awkward bunch of bastards who hate the record-buying and gig-going public with a fiery passion.

This leaves me to piece together a combined review and eulogy that will always be too late to do any good. I suppose it would be curiously entertaining if the feckless sybarites who run (in the loosest sense of the word) Wasp Factory were drowned in an avalanche of requests for this fine album, but I'm not going to hold my breath because the same set of bastards who'd look forward to my lack of fingers would also be hoping I'd turn blue and fall over into stinging nettles and dogshit.

Anyway. Compulsion. It's... Complicated. Mostly it's like Loveless (My Bloody Valentine. If you don't own it, you should.) re-imagined by members of a Pere Ubu tribute band who've spent far too long listening to Album-era Public Image. There's probably some Manic Street Preachers in there, only from a parallel universe where they're not a complete sack of arse. Please Stop Hurting Me for instance alternates fey flanged-guitar indie strumming with a howling racket and drums that sound like someone feeding galvanized dustbins through a car crusher. Only not in that tedious loud-quiet-loud-quiet way that all those Nirvana and Mogwai copyists attempted.

It's like... You know how the worst band in the world, Republica, managed to nail together Rock! guitar and squitty one-legged-dance synths and make a bucket of cash for some record corp scumbag? Well, ELR are the anti-Republica. They have MeNtAl guitar torturing (And solos. Proper bloody guitar solos like no bloody g*th band on the planet can manage.) with these huge evil synths lurking around in the background and giving the general impression that if you look at them funny they'll lump you one and steal your beer money. And thankfully there's no mithering about on rooftops being Ready to Go or similar nonsense. Instead there are songs that contain exploding relationships, self-loathing, hatred and swearing. (Probably. I dunno. There might have been a lyric sheet, but even if there had been I would have thrown it away. I don't want to know what songs are really about. I want to make up my own stories about the damn things and assign my own meanings. It's always terribly disappointing to discover something you thought was meaningful is actually about the drummer's bicycle.) There's about a year's worth of material for bedroom moping, door-slamming and throwing things here. Or in my case, it's the sort of stuff that will make me pilot my old (turbocharged, Swedish, faster than yours sonny) car at frankly illegal velocity up and down the Queen's highway. Allegedly, of course, officer.

Mind, just as you get used to the thing being terribly English, the damn record lurches sideways and starts making lumpy-guitared INDUSTRIAL (tm) noises. Meanwhile, a Dalek is being battered senseless in the car-park. And rightly so. By the time Optimism Creeping In hoves into view like a steamroller commandeered by a mob of angry elves, the Dalek has been dismembered and a fine rhythm is being beaten out on a nearby skip with its component parts. Unfortunately, the elves loose control of the steamroller and park it badly in the front of a kebab shop.

Buy this sodding CD. It's very good.

Contact Information:
Wasp Factory Recordings
Post: PO Box 270, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1DU, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 1242 521713
E-Mail: enquiries@wasp-factory.com
Web: www.wasp-factory.com